Teixeira opens up about 2014 season on premiere of Yankees Access

02/17/2014 11:48 AM ET
By Staff

Mark Teixeira sits down with Jack Curry to discuss the expectations for the Yankees in the 2014 season.(AP)
February 16, 2014 - New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, who was sidelined for most of the 2013 season with a wrist injury, explains what it is like for the Yankees to be underdogs heading into the 2014 season, and how the team thus needs to adjust its approach, when the YES Network premieres its next Yankees Access episode on Monday, February 17, at 8 pm ET, immediately following the latest edition of YES' Yankees Hot Stove show (7 pm ET).

Yankees Access, hosted by YES Network's Jack Curry, is a YES Network original series which provides unprecedented behind-the-scenes off-the-field access to Yankees players. 

Among the highlights of Monday's show:

The Yankees' being considered "underdogs" heading into the 2014 season, given that they didn't make the postseason last year:

"I love playing the underdog role.   I don't know what it is. Maybe my years in Texas. We got beat up a lot (in Texas), we lost a lot of games. So, playing the underdog role is actually fun for me because we've (the Yankees) always been expected to win it all every year I've been here. So, I'm going to relish that (being the underdogs). I hope the guys that are on the team now, and the guys we've brought in, understand the difference." 

The need to think differently this season:

"When you've won every single year, and made the playoffs every single year, you start thinking just about the World Series, you can start losing focus of every single game. We didn't make the playoffs last year. We need to get back to the playoffs first and foremost. We're not talking about having the best record in baseball or home field advantage. We're talking about making the playoffs. That's the first step.   I'm going to like that mindset for our team this year.

"Let's not focus on the World Series. Let's focus on winning the division. Let's focus on beating the Red Sox 2 out of 3. Let's focus on winning this game against Tampa Bay.   If you focus only on the World Series, you lose that grip of 'every single game is important.'"

What expectations does he have for the 2014 season? 

"The first thing is health. I need to prove that I'm healthy.   (In Spring Training) Once I'm healthy, and I know that I don't have to worry about my wrist anymore, then I worry about my swing.   If I'm healthy, then I need to be a 30 home run 100 RBI, Gold Glove (player). The health is first, the productivity is going to be second.

Significance of having everyone contribute on the Yankees:

"In baseball, you don't have one guy that can carry the team. This isn't basketball, where LeBron James, or football, where Peyton Manning, can just take you to a Super Bowl or an NBA Championship.   In baseball, we need to have a team game.   The guys we brought in (Yankees off-season acquisitions) are going to have to make contributions; the guys who were here last year and maybe were not healthy, (they) need to get healthy and make contributions."

How and why he became a switch-hitter:

"We (his father and he) watched (former Baltimore Orioles slugger) Eddie Murray; I was an Eddie Murray guy growing up in Baltimore. I watched him hit home runs from both sides of the plate.    And I was really good (hitting) right-handed. I don't want to say the game was boring to me, because it will never be boring because you can never be perfect, but I just wanted to be challenged, and hitting left-handed was a challenge to me. By the time I was 16 years old, I got it (learning how to hit left-handed)."

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